Wednesday, March 18, 2009

MVP Toss Up


As of today there are only 14 games left in the NBA regular season and in my opinion 5 players have separated themselves from the pack in terms of being in the running for the MVP award. Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul has established themselves as the 5 best players in the NBA and all have legitimate chances at being named the MVP.  Let's break down their resumes and see who should win it:

Dwight Howard

Team Record: 49-18 and 3rd in the Eastern Conference

Personal Stats: 21 PPG 14 RPG 2.9 BPG

Why He Should WinHoward has 52 double-doubles, including seven of at least 20 points and 20 rebounds. He tops the NBA in rebounding and shot-blocking, and his defensive presence drives the Magic: Orlando ranks in the top 10 in seven defensive categories, is 35-7 when it holds teams under 100 points and 17-0 when foes shoot less than 40 percent.

He is the most dominant center in basketball and a fierce down low.  He can single handily win games and is still only 23 years old.

Why He Won't Win: Like it or not Dwight Howard's game isn't "sexy" enough.  He doesn't have amazing dunks and he doesn't hit game winning shots form half court.  We already saw him get robbed of one award this year Slam Dunk Contest (Nate Robinson had 1 good dunk) so clearly the deck is stacked against Howard.

Chris Paul

Team Record: 41-25

Personal Stats: 21 PPG 11 APG 5 RPG

Why He Should Win:  Paul leads the league in assists (11.0), steals (2.8) and triple-doubles (six), and has had four games of at least 25 points and 15 assists. Paul -- whose Hornets aren't likely to match last season's 56-26 record -- is also setting career bests in scoring (21.9) and shooting (50.2 percent). 

He is the best point guard in the league hands down.  Sorry Deron Williams fans but it is true.  At the young age of 23 he has earned the respect of everyone on his team and he is a floor general.  No one cuts through the lane easier than Chris Paul and he makes everyone around him better.

Why He Won't Win: Dwyane Wade is scoring more points.  Kobe and LeBron's teams have better records. While Chirs Paul is amazing he is often overlooked in the MVP sense as his numbers never seem to match the magic of Kobe and LeBron.  He also fails at being able to make the highlight reel as he does not throw down vicious one-handed dunks from the free throw line consistently like LBJ.

Kobe Bryant

Team Record: 53-14

Personal Stats: 28 PPG 5.4 RPG 4.9 APG

Why He Should Win: Eleven players have won multiple MVP awards, and many believe Bryant -- whose Lakers have turned the Western Conference race into a runaway (nine-game lead over San Antonio with 16 games to go) -- should be the 12th. He has led L.A. to the league's best road record (23-9), including the 6-0 trek from Jan. 30 through Feb. 8 that included victories at Boston and at Cleveland. Bryant averaged 32.8 points on the trip.

Kobe is the best player on the best team and has his team playing amazing around him as they try to play on his level.  He is a proficient scorer and owns the highlight reels.

Why He Won't Win:  All he does is score.  If you look at his number his only impressive stats are his PPG which is indicative of the way Kobe plays.  He makes others better around him due to their effort to be on his level but other than that his only value to the team is his scoring ability.

Also winning back to back MVPs is no tall order so I think Kobe is a going to come up short here.

Dwyane Wade

Team Record: 36-30

Personal Stats: 30 PPG 8 APG 5 RPG

Why He Should Win: It might be easier to list the things Wade hasn't done for the Heat: A Miami player other than him has led the team in scoring only eight times in 66 games, and someone not named Dwyane has led in assists just 15 times. Since the All-Star break, Wade -- who hasn't missed a game, playing more already than in three of his first five seasons -- has gotten stronger, averaging 35.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 9.9 assists, 2.8 steals and 1.4 blocks, while shooting 54.2 percent.

Wade does it all and he he does everything right and he does it with style.  His play has energized Miami and they are now the 5th seed in the East.  If they can string together some wins late they may be able to host a 1st round playoff series.

Why He Won't Win:  He plays for the Miami Heat.  His team is not good enough to merit him winning the award in the eyes of the voters.  Yes he scores but in the end it is not enough to get past the fact that he heads a mediocre Eastern Conference team.

LeBron James

Team Record: 54-13

Personal Stats: 28 PPG 7 RBP 7 APG

Why He Should Win: It's one thing for a player to be "all-everything'' for an also-ran, but James takes it to new levels of individual and team success. He leads the Cavs in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks, and has them on pace to win 66 games. The other three players since 1973 to lead in all those categories helped their clubs win considerably less often -- Boston's Dave Cowens in 1977-78 (32 victories), Chicago's Scottie Pippen in 1994-95 (47) and Minnesota's Kevin Garnett in 2002-03 (51).

LeBron is an all around player who can do everything.  He is exciting to watch and every game he seems to get better.  He puts his team on his shoulders and carries them with him.  Even after bringing in players like Mo Williams to help LeBron score he can still do it all.  Also it needs to be mentioned many of the Cavs games feature LBJ on the bench in the 4th quarter as his team is often ahead by enough that he can rest.

Why He Won't Win: No conceivable argument.  He does everything well on a 1st place team.  It seems destined that this will be his year.

Honorable Mentions

Dirk Nowitzki, Tim Duncan, Deron Williams, Brandon Roy, and Chauncey Billups


My Pick

If I was given a vote in the MVP my vote would go to Dwight Howard.  Howard is a beast of a player and he owns teams in the paint.  This is where playoff games are won, on the glass.  His numbers or ridiculous and he has led the Magic to the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference.  I feel like he should win the award but I know he won't.  


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